Many countries are producing tea. You can easily find Japanese or Korean green tea, or Egyptian or Hungarian Chamomile, but you will never find Indian Rooibos. Why? Because rooibos is grown and made only in South Africa. Today, this unique herbal caffeine free tea is available worldwide. But 20 years ago, it was a rare and unknown tisane.
If you already tried rooibos tea and didn’t like it, there’s good news. There are different types of rooibos tea. Learn how to find the best tea for your preferences.
What is rooibos tea?
Rooibos or red bush tea is herbal tea made from dried leaves and stems of Aspalathus linearis plant. It can be fermented and non-fermented, just like green and black tea. Nonfermented rooibos is green and has a light, slightly sweet and slightly earthy, refreshing flavor with no bitterness. Fermented rooibos is red and has a stronger, more earthy and sweet flavor, also with no bitterness. Both red and green rooibos tea are naturally caffeine free.
Why is rooibos tea popular?
Rooibos gained popularity for two major reasons. It has a delicious refreshing flavor with no caffeine and may provide many potential health benefits. But there’s one more characteristic that makes it unique. Rooibos, both green and red, blend amazingly well with other ingredients. This makes them a perfect herbal base for caffeine-free blends. Some rooibos teas are stronger, some are lighter, some have a stronger sweet note, while others are more earthy.
Unlike real teas made from Camellia sinensis plant, rooibos is very easy to brew. You can’t over-brew rooibos. In fact, it will still taste delicious even if you forget about your brewed cup for a couple of hours. Brew rooibos for 3-10 minutes in boiling water, strain and serve. You can drink it with honey, sugar or pure. It tastes great served over ice. The only disadvantage of rooibos tea is the size of the leaf particles. Particles are so small that you will need to be careful about the choice of teapot or strainer. The best way to brew rooibos is using paper or cotton tea filters, and in teapots that have a very fine mesh strainer.
What qualities should I look for in a rooibos tea?
When choosing the best rooibos for your taste and needs, ask yourself the following questions.
1. Which type of tea do you regularly enjoy the most?
If you enjoy green teas, green rooibos may be a wonderful choice. It has a similar flavor to lighter non-grassy green teas, and zero bitterness – even if you over-brew it. Green rooibos may even appeal to those tea drinkers that don’t like the flavor of red rooibos. On the other hand, if you love black teas more, red rooibos may be a good choice. However, unlike black tea, red rooibos is not malty or smoky. It has a very unique earthy flavor.
2. How will you drink your tea?
If you drink tea with milk, red rooibos is a better choice than green rooibos. If you like it iced, both are wonderful. Fruity rooibos blends are delicious iced. If you love making lattes, creamy and chocolaty rooibos blends are amazingly tasty when blended with milk. And if you want to make a tea concentrate or a tea syrup, red rooibos is a better choice. It’s strong enough to flavor to many dishes, cocktails and desserts. In fact, because of its versatility, it’s one of the best herbal teas to have in your kitchen cupboard.
3. What kind of flavors you like?
Rooibos is probably the most versatile herbal tea in the world. It can be blended with any imaginable ingredient–from sour hibiscus to soothing roses. Rooibos blends often have a lighter earthy flavor than pure rooibos tea. Chocolate and vanilla notes may highlight the natural sweetness of a red bush tea. Therefore, vanilla blends are likely to be the closer in flavor to pure red rooibos than zesty and sour blends.
When choosing the best loose leaf tea, look for the ingredients list. Today, both organic and non-organic rooibos tea leaves are available on the market. Red rooibos tea should always be fresh and have tea leaves with a vivid brownish-red or yellowish-red color. Keep your tea away from direct sunlight, sources of heat, moisture or mold. Keep it in an airtight container.
What are the potential benefits of rooibos tea?
One of the reasons rooibos is gaining popularity world-wide is a wide range of potential health benefits. It contains antioxidants and may help boost immune system, fight free radicals and reduce oxidative stress. Rooibos may potentially help fight and treat cancer, diabetes, neurodegenerative diseases and help lower blood lipids and promote weight loss goals.
Studies suggest rooibos is also an amazing herbal choice for relaxation. It may help reduce the levels of stress hormone – cortisol. To gain the most benefits, scientists suggest to drink it daily, even up to 6 cups. The good news? It’s caffeine free and is likely to be extremely safe. Therefore, overdose on rooibos is very unlikely.
Best Rooibos Teas
Today, rooibos there is rarely a loose leaf tea company that doesn’t offer rooibos tea. While pure red rooibos may always have a recognizable flavor, rooibos blends are all unique. Here are our top choices if you really want to understand the versatility and wide range of flavors this tea can have.
Simple Rooibos Herbal
Simple Rooibos is a pure red rooibos tea. It’s great for making your own tea blends, simple rooibos tea syrups, or simple rooibos lattes. You can add any flavor you want – from creamy chocolate drops to zesty orange slices. Perfect for those that love the original pure rooibos flavor.
A herbal alternative to an all-time classic – Earl Grey “De La Creme” is not only a blend for tea drinkers who want to cut off caffeine and still enjoy the famous soothing bergamot scent and flavor. It’s a blend crafted for tea lovers who want to indulge in every sip of the creamiest Earl Grey ever.
This bold and smooth Bengal Chai Herbal is made with all traditional chai spices but blended with an earthy, smooth herbal rooibos tea. It’s perfect for evening teatimes, and strong enough to awaken all of your senses in the morning. Be warned though–this tea is BOLD. Serve with or without milk.
Seven is called seven because it’s blended with seven interesting ingredients. Refreshing mint top note, deep rich cinnamon and licorice, slightly sweet sarsaparilla root, slightly floral echinacea and earthy ginseng and red rooibos–an interesting blend? Definitely. Soothing, full of flavor but not overpowering, and ready to awaken all your senses. Best served hot. Great for those that enjoy herbal teas.
Smooth, earthy, slightly sweet, floral and so pretty – African Rose is a simple, but truly sophisticated blend of red bush herbal tea, beautiful rose petals and safflowers, and just a touch of vanilla. Don’t expect an overwhelming cup. The intention of this blend is to help you unwind and offer you a few moments of calmness while sipping on a gentle tea. Perfect for tea drinkers that like floral notes.
Apple Cinnamon Herbal is a proper apple and cinnamon tea, but with the addition of red rooibos. Why? To add depth to flavor, a little bit of sweetness and a dose of rooibos goodness. Perfect for hot brewing.
Key West is a rooibos blend unlike any other. Base of this tea is an unfermented rooibos tea, with a lighter, greener and subtler flavor. Add some mango, papaya and orange pieces and a touch of rose petals, and you get a blend that will make every summer tea time unforgettable.
What happens when you blend earthy and rich red rooibos, sweet banana and mango and creamy coconut? A tropical beach party in a cup! Banana Delight is all about playful flavor for relaxing on long summer days. Perfect for making iced tea.
No tea has ever been so serious to take over your heart as Blood Orange. Citrusy flavor, earthy but light red rooibos, slightly sour and zesty hibiscus, orange and rosehips and sweet apple and rose petals with a hint of vanilla and lemon–Blood Orange is a true flavor explosion that is impossible to describe. This caffeine-free tea can be made hot, cold, iced, or even as a latte. A must try rooibos blend that will be loved even by those that are not highly fond of rooibos tea.
Rusty Roots is a blend like no other. Not only it contains green organic rooibos tea as a base, but all the spices a proper chai tea should have This makes Rusty Roots a unique alternative to regular chai, full of natural goodness. Best served hot.
New to Rooibos? Learn More!
Want to learn more about this amazing herbal tea? Check out the following articles:
- 5 Pure Red Rooibos Tea Recipes
- What does Rooibos Tea Taste like?
- What is Green Rooibos Tea? Health Benefits & How to Brew
- How to Make Rooibos Tea: 6 Ways to Ice and Brew
- 7 Reasons Why Rooibos is the Best Herbal Tea
Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only. It’s not intended to replace medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Every person is different and may react to different herbs and teas differently. Never use teas or herbs to treat serious medical conditions on your own. Always seek professional medical advice before choosing home remedies.